A federal judge this week sentenced Michael Pridgen, 36, to 4 1/2 years in federal prison for selling crack and fentanyl in hallways in the Mildred Hailey Apartments in Jamaica Plain, the US Attorney's office reports.
US District Court Judge Richard Stearns also ordered that after his release, Pridgen, a member of the Heath Street Gang, not go anywhere near the apartment complex during six years of probation without the written permission of his probation officer. Pridgen grew up in the apartments, but was living in Westboro when he was arrested last year.
In May, he pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and fentanyl and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in a public housing development.
This is Pridgen's second federal sentence. In 2006, a judge sentenced him to seven years in prison for firing a gun outside Roxbury Municipal Court in 2004.
The sentence he got Monday for the drug dealing was slightly less than the lower end of federal sentencing guidelines. In a memo to the judge, a prosecutor said the US Attorney's office had agreed to that both to balance the seriousness of his crimes and the fact that Pridgen had "a difficult childhood," has health problems and has struggled with addiction and now has a family of his own. The geographic restriction after his release:
[I]s to aid Pridgen’s rehabilitation by reducing his opportunities for further crime, and eliminating any expectation from uncharged co-conspirators, fellow gang members who live in or frequent the Hailey Apartments, and/or his prior customers that he will further engage with them in criminal activities.
In her own sentencing memo, Pridgen's attorney pointed to, among other factors, his own drug addiction and his childhood and life as a young adult, which included finding his mother dead of a brain tumor on their living-room floor. Also:
He grew up in the Bromley Heath Projects in Boston, a notoriously dangerous and crime-ridden neighborhood. His mother never married; her children had different fathers, all of whom failed to support her as she raised her children. She often worked two jobs at once and struggled to support herself and the kids.